Toxic cyanobacterial breakthrough and accumulation in a drinking water plant: a monitoring and treatment challenge.
ABSTRACT The detection of cyanobacteria and their associated toxins has intensified in recent years in both drinking water sources and the raw water of drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). The objectives of this study were to: 1) estimate the breakthrough and accumulation of toxic cyanobacteria in water, scums and sludge inside a DWTP, and 2) to determine whether chlorination can be an efficient barrier to the prevention of cyanotoxin breakthrough in drinking water. In a full scale DWTP, the fate of cyanobacteria and their associated toxins was studied after the addition of coagulant and powdered activated carbon, post clarification, within the clarifier sludge bed, after filtration and final chlorination. Elevated cyanobacterial cell numbers (4.7 × 10(6)cells/mL) and total microcystins concentrations (up to 10 mg/L) accumulated in the clarifiers of the treatment plant. Breakthrough of cells and toxins in filtered water was observed. Also, a total microcystins concentration of 2.47 μg/L was measured in chlorinated drinking water. Cyanobacterial cells and toxins from environmental bloom samples were more resistant to chlorination than results obtained using laboratory cultured cells and dissolved standard toxins.
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ABSTRACT: Cyanobacteria are commonly-occurring contaminants of surface waters worldwide. Microcystins, potent hepatotoxins, are among the best characterized cyanotoxins. During November, 2001, a group of 44 hemodialysis patients were exposed to microcystins via contaminated dialysate. Serum microcystin concentrations were quantified with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay which measures free serum microcystin LR equivalents (ME). We describe serum ME concentrations and biochemical outcomes among a subset of patients during 8 weeks following exposure. Thirteen patients were included; 6 were males, patients' median age was 45 years (range 16-80), one was seropositive for hepatitis B surface antigen. The median serum ME concentration was 0.33 ng/mL (range: <0.16-0.96). One hundred thirty nine blood samples were collected following exposure. Patients' biochemical outcomes varied, but overall indicated a mixed liver injury. Linear regression evaluated each patient's weekly mean biochemical outcome with their maximum serum ME concentration; a measure of the extrinsic pathway of clotting function, prothrombin time, was negatively and significantly associated with serum ME concentrations. This group of exposed patients' biochemical outcomes display evidence of a mixed liver injury temporally associated with microcystin exposure. Interpretation of biochemical outcomes are complicated by the study population's underlying chronic disease status. It is clear that dialysis patients are a distinct 'at risk' group for cyanotoxin exposures due to direct intravenous exposure to dialysate prepared from surface drinking water supplies. Careful monitoring and treatment of water supplies used to prepare dialysate is required to prevent future cyanotoxin exposure events.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e69518. · 3.73 Impact Factor